"We also have to remember that Princess Diana manipulated the media too to her ends," said British journalist Andrew Pierce.
In November 1995, when BBC's interview conducted by journalist Martin Bashir with Princess Diana was broadcasted, it sent shockwaves in the country. Not just the royal family but even the people were shocked that Diana decided to air her dirty laundry. Now, 26 years later, after an inquiry into the said interview and how it was procured, the BBC's reputation has taken a hit. Even their Home Secretary, Priti Patel, thinks so, BBC reported itself.
The investigation into how Bashir obtained the interview was a "really significant moment" for the BBC since it was found that the journalist used deception. Princes William and Harry condemned the BBC and the journalist for their actions.
William defended his mom and said he was "most saddened" Diana never learned she was deceived, "not just by a rogue reporter" but by BBC bosses. In a video, he said that the interview made his "parents' relationship worse," as per the Express. The Duke of Cambridge added that Bashir's lies "contributed significantly to [his mother's] fear, paranoia, and isolation".
However, there is another side to the story as well. While Bashir was wrong in manipulating Diana, a journalist added that she used to manipulate the media as well.
"We also have to remember that Princess Diana manipulated the media too to her ends," said British journalist Andrew Pierce. While journalist Kevin Maguire said, "She had, many years earlier, cooperated with the Andrew Morton book. She had favored journalists she would regularly meet and speak to. That was the world she operated in. But the sort of things that went on at the time were absolutely wrong."
Good Morning Britain host, Susanna Reid added, "This was a rogue reporter at the BBC. But it wasn't like everyone else left her alone. She was under siege constantly."
There have been others who called the Princess of Wales a "manipulator". Her former media manager, Dickie Arbiter, labeled her as such. "There's Diana the cheated bride, but also Diana the manipulator when it comes to the media. She helped with the Andrew Morton book, she did Panorama," he had said before the inquiry.
Meanwhile, royal family insiders are surprised by William's strong criticism of the BBC. Royal commentator Katie Nicholl told Express, "For him, wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve so publicly and bringing humiliation onto the Royal Family — well that was a big no-no. He refused to speak to his mother for some days after that and bear in mind how close they were, this was absolutely devastating for Diana."
In her book Kate: The Future Queen, she said that the Duke then "called his mother in a fury and a rage" as he didn't know why she gave the interview. The BBC’s former royal correspondent Jennie Bond also said that William was "desperately upset" and "couldn’t believe that she’d laid her soul so bare." Nicholl added, "William was exposed to everything from that interview. He was mortified."
It was the Panorama interview that led to the divorce between the estranged couple, Prince Charles and Diana. In that interview, she had revealed that there were three people in her marriage. Prince William now wants the interview to never be aired again as it had "no legitimacy," as per BBC. "It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialized by the BBC and others," he said.
The rogue journalist, Bashir, had duped Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, into introducing him to Diana by showing Spencer forged bank statements. Those statements falsely suggested that certain individuals were being paid to keep a watch on the princess. Bashir apologized by saying that the fake documents "was a stupid thing to do" and he regretted it.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L)Patrick Riviere (R)Richard Stonehouse